Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Running-In His Genes: Nate Danti

Running -In His Genes
Presented by the GD Athletic Department
By Robert Mingolelli

Groton-Dunstable senior Nate Danti, captain of the track and field team his junior and senior years, moved to Groton from the Philadelphia area when he was in elementary school. Nate’s sister Kersten is a freshman running track at G-D and his nine year old brother Jacob plays soccer. His parents, Michael and Samantha Danti grew up in Indiana and ran track in school. “Both are very supportive and encouraging in our activities but my grandmother is especially excited about my running because track is her favorite sport. She has always helped me when she visits from Indiana.”  Must be in the genes.

“When I was younger in Philly, it was all about running and who was faster. I played some baseball growing up but when I got to middle school I wanted to try something new so decided to give track a try,” shared Nate.

He made new friends and found out he could keep up with everyone so he kept running. “I played soccer my freshman and sophomore years in high school but an ankle injury limited my ability to play effectively.”  Straight ahead running worked for him and keeping up with other runners soon became beating everyone.

“Nate has always been a surprise,” said math teacher and track and field coach Angus MacDonald.  “He seems to always be lined up next to guys twice his size and you would never assume that he was fast. Then you watch him run and he ends up smoking them in a race.  He is confident is able to rise to the level of the competition.”

Asked about a significant experience at G-D, Nate smiled. “My first race as a freshman. I had come in feeling pretty good about my running having not been defeated in eighth grade.”  At practice, Danti met Evan Lexo, a sophomore who, during his HS career, was All-State, All-New England, ran in the Nationals in North Carolina, and is currently at prep school preparing for the United States Naval Academy.
 “I knew he was fast but I can still win,” thought Danti. “That first race opened my eyes. I’m going to have to work at this.”
“Having him in front of me all those years helped me improve,” related Nate. “And he’s told me that it has helped him get better because our times were so relatively close. We are very good friends and it was really good for both of us to challenge each other in practice and in races when sometimes the competition wasn’t that great.”

“I have had Nate in math class for three semesters and coached him for four years in track,” continued MacDonald. “He is a role model for his team mates in both the classroom (averages A- including AP Biology and Calculus) and work ethic; and while he is not loud and demanding, his presence is loud and demanding.  He leads by example and others strive to be like him and live up to his expectations.” 

Nate has been accepted at all the colleges he applied to including Middlebury, Brandeis, University of Pennsylvania, Wheaton and Assumption in Worcester. The list speaks volumes for his preparation at G-D. As of our meeting, no decision yet.

“Nate Danti has a very upbeat personality and is an enjoyable student to have in class,” offered Groton-Dunstable chemistry teacher Tamara Allen. “He is always full of questions, loves the opportunity for hands-on investigation and is a strong student academically”.
Asked what could be added to the course study at G-D Nate contributed, “more independent study. With block scheduling it is more class to class, concentrated information with less opportunity for self determined learning. I would need an adviser but independent study would allow students to research and try to figure out things on their own. At G-D, we do have class projects but more of those offerings, I think, would better prepare us.”

For the past few years, much of his summer time has been spent with the Squannacook River Runners youth track program working and teaching elementary school kids running techniques and training aids.

 “To the freshmen from a senior who has been there, join activities that you enjoy,” he suggests.  “You will meet other classmates, upper classmen who will help you navigate the HS, settle in and develop as a person.”

“Nate has been a pleasure to have in molecular biology and AP biology this year,” added science teacher Dan Reid. “His transcript and GPA tell you he's bright and a hard worker, but what they don't reveal is his positive attitude and sense of humor. It's not a secret that molecular biology is a tough subject, but he and his friends in class kept the mood light by keeping a sense of humor and coining the course motto: "Tears are good!" Must ask Nate about that!

“It has been fun to watch Nate grow both on the track and in the classroom.  I am excited to see where he goes academically and athletically in the coming years,” concluded MacDonald.

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